Ikea Korea‘s second store in Korea will open in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province on Oct. 19, the company said on Tuesday.
Ikea Korea Country Retail Manager Andre Schmidtgall gives a press presentation at Bread Comma Café in Seoul on Tuesday. (Ikea)
“We had heard from customers that they wanted us to come closer to them, and that sometimes our (existing) store is too crowded,” Ikea Korea Country Retail Manager Andre Schmidtgall told reporters at the Bread Comma Cafe in Seoul.
According to Schmidtgall, the store is currently wrapping up construction and hiring 550 employees. It is the second of six stores that Ikea hopes to open in Korea by 2020.
Ikea currently operates one store in Korea in Gwangmyeong, south of Seoul, which Schmidtgall called “the largest Ikea store in the world.”
In the 2017 fiscal year, Ikea Korea saw 365 billion won ($324 million) in revenue, representing a 6 percent on-year rise, and 6.49 million visitors to the Gwangmyeong store.
The company also had 38.8 million visitors to the Ikea website and mobile app, indicating a high “interest in home furnishing,” said Schmidtgall.
The Goyang store, which is slightly smaller than the existing branch, will offer a similar range of products but with a different layout to reflect “the different types of families living in Goyang, and Gwangmyeong,” Schmidtgall said.
The new store will open in an area that has become a hotspot for shopping and entertainment in the previously underserved northern suburb of Seoul.
Starfield Goyang, a giant shopping and entertainment complex owned by Shinsegae, opened just last week, following on the heels of another large mall owned by Lotte.
These types of large shopping complexes are currently receiving pressure from associations of smaller retailers and the government to reduce their operating hours to minimize financial impact on surrounding stores.
Shinsegae’s Vice Chairman Chung Yong-jin has publicly said that Ikea should be subject to the same regulations as shopping mall complexes.
Although Schmidtgall declined to comment officially on these potential regulations, he said, “From a customer perspective, which is for us the most important, we want to be there when the customer wants to be with us.”
Ahead of the opening of the Goyang branch, Ikea will be presenting its new range of products for the next year, focusing on the living room, at Bread Comma Cafe through to Sept. 17.
By Won Ho-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org